These rules are based on my experience as a mixer and as an educator. The important thing to remember is that there is no one size fits all, so you need to understand what you’re mixing!
1.Balance Your Mix
Balance is three very distinct things: Volume, Panning and EQ adjustment.
When you’re mixing, you do a static mix where you’re panning to create space and clarity. This is always a great place to start and finish; having everything make sense. Creating a good static mix will show you what you need to make your mix great. The static mix/the balance of a mix will is very important because it will tell you everything you need to know. Knowing the song and what you want from it is going to guide you in all of your decision making.
2.Using Plug Ins Too Early
There is no one was to use plug ins. Since you will most likely be working with a bunch of different genres, you have to learn how to work with all different styles of music. Create clarity in the low end; you don’t want to bring in your EQ too early because you don’t want to end up chasing your tail trying to make everything brighter. For the EQ you do use, trying using some high passing/low cut EQ.
Make sure when you use plug ins, you use them for a purpose, not just trying to make everything sound brighter and louder
3.Don’t Use Plug Ins Too Late
If you’re doing a big, loud, slamming track, if you don’t get in early with the plug ins, then you will be trying to fix things at the end. This is a massive, common problem.
Don’t be afraid to use plug ins in early in genres like hard rock. Shape the kick a bit more, shape the snare drum a bit more, cut some low mids and low ends out so it doesn’t get too muddy, even out the low end of the base, etc.
If you want to make this your career, you have to learn how to mix all genres!
4.Do Not Use The Master Bus To Do Your Mixing
Fancy plug ins are great! But, you don’t want to be using them to fix the problems that should have been delt with inside of the mix. If you only rely on the plug ins at the end of the mix to fix this issue, then you will get even low end WITHOUT definition.
Multiple instruments in the area create frequency masking. Distracting the ear from being able to clearly perceive the simultaneous sound. If you’re not supply something that is defined to these instruments, then you’re going to get low end with no definition.
If you are mixing into multiband Master Bus compression, you aren’t going to learn anything. It is pretty hard not to get something that sounds “okay” when mixing using this, but a mastering engineers job is to enhance the music which is not possible with so much low end. Professional mastering engineers only use multiband compression to FIX issues.
5.Listen To The Mix As A Whole
Always be listening to the mix as a whole! You should always be thinking globally; if you focus too much onto one instrument then your mix may sound like it is built around that instrument and you might not even notice.
What many producers do, is they will play the track, but leave the room and listen to it from outside of the room. It will help you get some perspective and help you in thinking globally.
The right way to mix is to be open to new ideas, don’t limit yourself, and always be learning!
Watch the video below to learn more about my 5 Rules of Mixing!